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Proceedings of the California State Convention of the Colored Citizens, Held in Sacramento on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th of October, 1865.

1865CA.7.pdf

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174

BLACK STATE CONVENTIONS


demanded our chiefest attention and labors. Now was the time when it became a paramount duty with us to carry out our resolves; to long for knowledge and learning, without putting our shoulders to the wheel in earnest, would never help to raise us out of the slough of ignorance. It was with pride that he saw the master spirits of the nation devoting their attention and assistance to the education of the Freedmen, which, when obtained, would enable them to stand erect as men, compete with, contend for, and demand their rights as men, irrespective of race or complexion.

Mr. Ruggles next addressed the Convention. He endorsed the resolution for many reasons. When a slave in Louisiana, after having been sold five times, he was presented to a slaveholder. Upon one occasion, when an English gentleman, a friend of his master, was learning him the A, B, C, was strongly reproved, and informed that by so doing he laid himself liable to be imprisoned in the State prison. The gentleman was astonished. He learned to read and write by the light of the fire. Mr. Ruggles, in eloquent terms, urged mothers to commence the education of their children at home. Was angered when white men slandered his race, and felt grieved to think that some of the able colored men did not refute the charges. What was one dollar to give? He was willing to give five dollars per month, and if any number of gentlemen would give twenty dollars towards the purchase, he would give fifty dollars. He wished it to revert, in all ages to come, that the Pacific coast could boast such splendid school advantages.

Motion, by A. L. Jackson, to postpone further debate until 12 o'clock tomorrow, stating he thought they would be able to secure the Methodist Church, on Sixth st.

Mr. M. C. Briggs kindly informed them that they could have it as early on the morrow and as long as they wished--which was received with loud applause.

The motion of Mr. Jackson was then put and carried. Upon motion of Mr. Starkey, a vote of thanks was tendered Mr. Briggs for the use of his church.


Report of the Committee on Education

Your Committee appointed to consider upon the subject of Education, present the following as their Report:

The greatest distinction between the human and the animal branches of creation, is the facility to acquire education of the higher grades. Some specimens of the animal creation may acquire education to a certain degree, but there it stops--it can go no further; their instincts, by which alone they are governed, cannot carry them beyond that point. When the reasoning faculties come into requisition, the progression of the animal stops, and we see the power of the human mind.

Analyzation, comparison, analogy, description, and their kindred attributes, are all the results of reflection; and the reasoning faculties, which are distinct from the instinctive qualities of the brute, and are emanations of the God-like power from which source man has his being, and to develop which is his chief end and aim.

That can only be accomplished by his having all possible facilities of education, and every means open to him for improving his mind and enlarging his understanding; and to none are these facilities more requisite than to a race whose ancestors have for generations been deprived of all opportunities for mental improvement-against whom the portals of the Temple of Knowledge have been closed, and who are, even now, but emerging from the barbarism of slavery, and from whose minds the clouds of ignorance and superstition are just breaking away. Therefore, be it

Resolved, That we present a petition to the Legislature to so amend the School Law that colored children, by its provisions, shall receive the benefit of its advantages in common with others; and,

Whereas, The School at San Jose, being already established, and in successful operation, requires the prompt and earnest aid of our people, as well as their whole influence; therefore, be it

Resolved, That a contribution of one dollar be solicited from every colored person throughout the State of California to purchase the property of the San Jose School; and also, that the Legislature be petitioned for an

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